Assessing the success of multi-faceted Marketing has always been challenging, but no more so than when it concerns Enterprise buying cycles.
For many businesses, the critical question of how you effectively assess and communicate the value of account-centric Marketing remains central to their growth-planning operations. As the expectations, stakeholder units, and engagement dynamics of any given account relationship continue to evolve, what role does Marketing play now, anyway? And ultimately, what are the true measures of Marketing success?
We’ve talked a lot on here about how measurement in ABM is nuanced and tricky to get right – in fact 83% of ABMers seem to think so. This week I co-hosted a measurement webinar with two leaders in this space: Bev Burgess, who is a Managing Principal of the Inflexion Group and widely seen as the authority on ABM, and Regina Soller Gould, an award-winning marketing leader who has run ABM and field marketing teams at the likes of Pure Storage, EMC, and Microsoft. We were joined by a whole host of B2B practitioners from a variety of different companies, to explore and discuss critical questions around measuring ABM success when it comes to Enterprise buying cycles.
First, we examined whether or not the MQL-to-Deal funnel is falling by the wayside, which evolved more broadly into a discussion around how the dynamic between sales and marketing is evolving to match these behaviours in the buying cycle, and if there is change underway what that means for the topic of measurement and – moreover – marketing success.
Here are three key takeaways from the webinar that were particularly noteworthy and interesting to mention:
- With such a complex topic, simplicity is key. What success looks like with one account is not necessarily the same for others and this idea of the ‘one size fits all’ MQL-to-Deal funnel is effectively flawed, especially for ABM. Contributors discussed how setting simple goals which nevertheless unpack the importance of customer success in its broadest sense has proved impactful, with an intriguing focus on pinpointing, predicting, isolating, and intervening on ‘failpoints’ in the customer lifecycle.
Mark Larwood, Head of Strategic and Customer Marketing and ABM at Virgin and O2 weighed in on this thorny issue of the MQL funnel and measuring soft metrics particularly when getting a new programme off the ground: ‘In the short term, it comes down to a leap of faith. A recognition that reputation plus relationships equals revenue. A conversation I have with people is ‘yes you may think you just need to fill the funnel right now and drive immediate business, but let’s focus 25% over here too, on activity that’s more long term and builds future pipeline (to set you up for the next eighteen months, not just this quarter).’
Regina Soller Gould, VP Marketing, commented on what digital transformation means for Enterprise marketing and sales and this ‘top-of-funnel’ approach: ‘There’s an opportunity to reposition marketing and look at the metrics differently, especially in a SaaS company where you’re focusing on the entire lifecycle which is so much closer to what true ABM looks like. When we talk about Enterprise marketing and its effectiveness, it doesn’t feel right looking at individual enquiries and taking it to the funnel, ending that metric and looking at how many opportunities have been created. It’s a challenge, because all the metrics we’re being asked to look at are still top of the funnel, not the entire lifecycle, and now there’s so much more being asked (of marketers), escalated by the pandemic.’
- Many are still grappling with the ‘grey areas’ of measurement, such as capturing the soft metrics surrounding relationships and perception. A few people in the webinar discussed adjusting the ‘Three Rs’ framework as a way to quantify aspects that are otherwise subjective and anecdotal in nature, and also of the power of ‘quick wins’ for gaining the hearts and minds of Sales colleagues.
Neil Berry, Head of Global ABM & DBM Centre of Excellence at Atos brought up the importance of time when it came to looking at measurable metrics, focusing on the shift in portfolio on accounts as one example. He commented: ‘You can pull some of these metrics in different ways, such as portfolio expansion, and metrics take time, which also requires buy-in […] you can’t simply build reputation and relationships overnight but once you’ve got those, that’s where we expect revenue to come. So, if you can show that diversification of portfolio it helps to show progression (for showing measurable impact).’
- The dynamic between Marketing and Sales should be a collaborative one all driven towards making the customer successful, and there is a reassuring willingness to make this happen within organizations. One point that was discussed was the continual battle by organizations to move past the mindset of ‘volume = success’.
Bev Burgess, Founder of Inflexion Group added: ‘Marketing should fundamentally act as the focusing glue, helping to break people out of silos and work together and supporting the account teams as they look to grow your most important accounts and deliver great outcomes for your customers.’
We’ve learned a lot about measurement over the years, and have a lot of experience under our belt helping ABMers and marketing teams make the right decision. If you were interested in those points, if they sparked questions, or simply you want to know more about how you can best measure your own ABM programmes, we’d love to hear from you! You can contact us by emailing email@example.com.